I recently took the popular (and maybe slightly overdone) Myers Briggs personality test during an all-day learning and development course at work. We examined our personality types, and then did a series of exercises to learn about how personalities can affect and influence the workplace, like how personalty differences affect the way people communicate.
It was an interesting and slightly fluffy day… work of a different kind.. on myself rather than for someone else. It was a much needed break from the desk-meeting-conference-call grind I’d been on. I learned a lot about myself and have spent the last few days reflecting on my personality discoveries.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (BMTI) classified me as an ESTJ, defined by the Keirsey Temperament Sorter as a Supervisor. Supervisors are civic-minded individuals who dedicate themselves to maintaining the institutions behind a smooth-running society.
I’m not going to go into each of my different personality preferences (E, S, T, J) or debate whether I think the Supervisor definition is accurate. But I will share a little about the realization I made while analyzing my results.
As part of our personality test result, we were shown a sliding scale between the pairs of personality preferences. E vs. I, T vs. F, you know? To what degree do you prefer extroversion to introversion or thinking over feeling? slight preference? moderate preference? very clear preference? the course instructor told us that most people have slight to moderate preferences. I looked down at my results and realized that all four of my personality types were very clear preferences. I brought it up to the instructor and she said while it’s not necessarily common to be that extreme in personality preferences, it’s not all together uncommon either. (That kind of makes sense.)
I found this kind of alarming…
…that my personality appeared on paper, as inflexible… to the extreme.
This realization comes appropriately timed, as I’m exploring every bit about me, and as I’m challenging myself to different ways of life, like embracing solitude as opposed to constant companionship. Seeing how far I am from having any sort of introversion preferences reminds me that my desire to be around someone, all the time, is engrained pretty deep somewhere in my psyche. It doesn’t mean I can’t change. It doesn’t necessarily mean I should change either but it encourages me to continue exploring the other ends of the personality spectrums.
This realization also provides great validation that I’m on the right track… and that I should continue exploring. Throw facts out the window once and a while, and go with my gut. Go on a weekend getaway and don’t plan a thing in advance.
Push my own personality buttons a little and figure out who I really am.